The AAA Rating

So, what has been long predicted has come about at last: Britain joins the U.S.A. and several other countries in losing her AAA rating, leaving just Canada and Germany to revel in their reputation for unassailable financial soundness. Does it matter? It could affect borrowing costs, although the U.S.A. hasn’t found it doing so (AA1 is still a pretty good marker of financial reliability). The chief fall-out is political and I daresay we are in for a few days of ‘ya, boo and sucks’ from H.M. Opposition and some possibly cringe-making ‘explanations’ from H.M. Government.

Is there such a thing as a spiritual AAA rating? Some people certainly talk as though they had a hotline to God, but their spiritual credentials aren’t always what they imply. Look at their lives and, instead of holiness, one sometimes sees something that looks dangerously like selfishness or pride. Of course, the tests we apply are not necessarily those that God uses. We are often deceived by outward appearances while he looks at the heart, but even so, I think most of us would say we know a charlatan when we see one.

Tomorrow we shall be thinking about the Transfiguration of Jesus but today a glance in the mirror will tell us what needs to be transfigured in our own lives. We may not see a charlatan looking back at us, but most of us will recognize something that isn’t quite right, that falls short of a spiritual AAA. Lent is our opportunity to do something about it.


8 thoughts on “The AAA Rating”

  1. Ah, gee, I sure am not a AAA spiritually… Hopefully a bit higher than junk bonds…
    As to the credit rating agencies… Who rates them? They helped bring about the 2008 financial crisis. And what a crisis that was.
    Otherwise, as said above, an ‘excellent musing.’

    • With my ex-banker cap on I might not blame the credit rating agencies per se for the financial crisis of 2008 but, as you have astutely rceognized, they’re just a peg for another thought entirely!

  2. I always hope to see something worthy when I look in the mirror… But if I am battling depression, then most of the time I feel like something the cat dragged in, or got stuck on the bottom of your shoe — or worse, the rag doll that got left out in the rain. And if I pretend to be ‘normal’, whatever that is, does it make me a charlatan for trying to put my best foot forward? After all, if I am someone for whom Christ died, doesn’t that imply I am worth something – charlatan or not?

    • I think the term “charlatan” is being used to describe someone who speaks as a Christian but doesn’t behave as one following Christ’s teachings. Are you worth something to God? So much so He created you in His own image, loved you before you were born, loves you now and will love you into eternity. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

      • Jean, I know you mean well, but please would you let me speak for myself, otherwise misunderstandings may multiply?

        The point I was making in my final paragraph was not intended to instill or reinforce any negative feelings about oneself that one may hold because of depression. It was directed towards those of us, among whom I am one, who know, when we examine our consciences, that we are not fully living up to the graces that are offered to us daily, i.e. that our conduct does not fully conform to what it means to live as a Christian. That is a different matter from the value each of us has as a human being, created in the image and likeness of God, and loved by him from all eternity. You are indeed precious in his sight and you must never forget it!

        A charlatan is someone who falsely claims to have special knowledge. I was using the word quite literally and precisely in relation to those who claim a hotline to God.

  3. My favourite Lenten hymn is “Ashes”, the first verse opens with “We rise again from ashes…” (google it) and goes on to speak of the many ways we fall short, encourages us to to keep trying. In striving to become more Christ-like, we are transformed slowly but surely.

    When I see someone who speaks as though they have a “hotline to God” but doesn’t walk the walk, I see someone hiding behind the Cross, someone broken, possibly hurting in ways I may not be privy to at the moment. Selfishness and pride often have their roots in brokenness, I know because I am also a broken sinner.

    • Sadly, Jean, much harm can be done by those who claim a hotline to God. I’m not only thinking of some of the massacres linked to messianic sects, but the tortured lives lived by members of some religious cults led by a pastor who has religious megalomania.

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